Gardening, Greenhouses, Grow Your Own, Planting, Ross

spring greenhouse

Greenhouses have always been a popular form of gardening. A garden is nice and all, but a greenhouse offers you a small, secluded environment that poses a whole new roster of challenges, even for the seasoned gardener.

For those who are just starting out, though, greenhouses can be something of an unknown entity. What do you grow in them? Why not just keep whatever you DO grow in them outside in the garden? Is it going to be worth all the effort? Well, fret no more, because we’re here to help.

Greenhouses can be used to cultivate any number of flora, but they are at their most potent in the growth of fruits and vegetables. With all that in mind, then, here are just a smattering of the plants that will benefit the most from life inside your greenhouse.


They’re practically a greenhouse staple, and with good reason. Tomatoes thrive in warm, humid environments, which is exactly what they’ll get in a structure made entirely out of glass. Tomato plants and greenhouses go together like bread and butter, and they’re a great place to start if you’re new to greenhouses. Keep in mind, though, that while tomatoes do indeed prefer the warmer conditions of life inside a greenhouse, they do need watering regularly to keep the balance. Most garden hose heads will come with a “mist” function, which is the perfect way to moderate the temperature of your tomatoes and keep them growing strong.


Who doesn’t love a good strawberry? A lot of British gardeners end up giving strawberry growth a crack simply because of their reputation as the quintessential garden fruit. Greenhouses are, just as they were for tomatoes, an excellent place to try your hand at strawberry growth. Strawberries are a shallow-rooting plant, which means they’ll be most comfortable in weed-free environments where they don’t need to worry about competing for space. You’ll need to keep on top of the watering, as ever, but your reward will be a bounty of Wimbledon’s favourite fruits.

strawberry plant

Chillies & Peppers

I suppose it stands to reason that chillies and peppers are both heat-loving plants, given how often we burn the lids of our mouths on them. Both fruits can be a bit of a long job, so if you’re planning on trying your hand with them this year, you might want to think about getting your stuff together early. Ultimately though, given their love of heat, growing them outside amongst the notoriously capricious British weather is a far less reliable tactic than within the confines of a greenhouse.

Amazon Lilies

Amazon Lilies certainly won’t be for everyone, since they require a consistent temperature in the range of 70 degrees to keep them alive. They do also require a lot of sunlight, which is always difficult to guarantee even at the apex of a British summer, but if you can give them what they need, the Amazon Lily will repay you in kind. They can reach up to 60cm in height and can help maintain a sweet scent in your little glass house.

amazon lily


Another greenhouse staple, the rose is a world-renowned flower blessed with connotations of love, life and prosperity. Given their wide array of colours, it quickly becomes obvious why so many greenhouse gardeners decide to add them to their collections. Roses have something of a reputation of being delicate little things, constantly in need of protection and cultivation when left in the open elements. The safety of a greenhouse removes some of those irksome fragilities, and allows you the platform to more carefully monitor their progress.


You may or may not have heard someone described as a “hothouse orchid” – I remember it from an episode of Frasier, myself. Anyway, the phrase describes someone who requires pampering or coddling to live happily. It’s no surprise, then, that orchids themselves require many provisions if they are to grow. Humidity is a key part of orchid growth, since the most common orchids were originally imported from the tropics. Naturally then, a greenhouse environment presents the perfect platform to get your orchids cosy, warm and above all else, blooming.


Of course, there’s an entire roster of greenhouse-friendly options available to you. Oranges, lemons, cucumbers, geraniums, salvia, chrysanthemums; the list goes on. The main thing, however, is getting started. If you’ve never owned a greenhouse before, or maybe your greenhouse is looking a little sorry this spring, it’s never too late to try again.

Ross at PrimroseRoss works in the Product Loading department and gets to see all the weird and wonderful products that pass through Primrose. Ross is a life-long Southampton fan and favours jazz music, reading and a quiet place to enjoy them.

See all of Ross’s posts.

Compost, Gardening, How To, Megan, Organic

Why Compost?

There are countless benefits to composting and it is easier to get started than a lot of people think! When you use it as a soil amendment it improves the soils structure, provides a source of plant nutrients and stimulates beneficial organisms. Other benefits include saving money you may be spending on expensive soil amendments and reducing waste sent to landfill, contributing to a more sustainable planet. It is also great if you want to transition to transforming your garden into an organic, pesticide-free environment. It is easy to learn how to compost and it is a great investment of your time!

Compost Bins

How to compost: compost bins
How to compost: compost bins

First things first – investing in a great compost bin will make your life as a composter gardener a lot easier. There are numerous compost solutions on the market today. These include easy-load compost bins and tumbling compost bins for faster composting. Accessories such as compost aerators which helps speed up the decomposition process are also available. If you want to be extra kind to the environment, avoid plastic and invest in a wooden compost bin.

Alternatively, you can recycle and use an old rubbish bin as a compost bin. Saw off the bottom and drill holes in the bottom half of the bin, then bury the section with holes in the soil. This will allow microorganisms to more easily enter your pile.

We have highlighted below some items you can and cannot compost. All you need to do to get started is start loading into your compost bin, and wait for it to do its magic!

What You Can Compost

How to compost: peeling potatoes

You can compost the majority of the organic matter from your food waste, including but not limited to:

  • Tea bags (be wary that some tea bags are encased in plastic and other inorganic materials.  If in doubt cut open and just compost the contents)
  • Egg shells
  • Fruit & vegetable scraps
  • Coffee grounds & filters
  • Leftover cooked pasta & rice
  • Stale food, such as bread, cereal and crisps (bury bread deep to discourage pests)
  • Cardboard food packaging with any plastic removed, cut up for easier decomposition
  • Herbs & spices

But composting materials aren’t just limited to kitchen scraps! Many people aren’t aware you can also cultivate other household waste, including:

  • Facial tissues
  • Cotton items – cotton wool, clothing, fabric
  • Newspaper & waste paper, as long as it’s not glossed (best to feed through a shredder first)
  • Crumbs and dust collected from your dustpan
  • Uneaten dry dog & cat food
  • Dead house plants & flowers

And last but not least, don’t forget to compost your garden waste, such as:

  • Grass trimmings
  • Leaves
  • Dying plant material
  • Non-toxic weeds

What You Can’t Compost

how to compost: walnuts

There are some things better left out of compost. These items may slow decomposition and produce a lower quality of compost. Others aren’t just bad for compost, but bad for the environment. The general rule is you can compost anything that is organic matter that was once living. Some exceptions to this rule are:

  • Cooking oil
  • Diseased plants
  • Dairy products, including milk (although plant-based milks can be composted)
  • Meat scraps
  • Any inorganic materials
  • Walnuts
  • Pet faeces

How to Use Your Compost

how to compost: compost in scoop

Compost can be used in many beneficial ways. As already mentioned it is a great organic soil amendment. Simply spread it onto your flower bed or veg patch to make your flowers lusher and your vegetables hardier. Compost can also be used as a lawn topper. It will encourage growth and ensure your grass is as green as can be. It can also be used as mulch, helping retain soil moisture as well as boosting its health.

What about pests?

It is pretty easy to keep unwanted pests just as rats, away from compost. Keeping meat and dairy products out of your compost will help as these are big for attracting rodents. Another solution is to buy a closed compost bin with a lid. This will keep pests away as well as conceal the smell of the compost. Also be sure to keep your compost bin away from other animal food sources, such as berry bushes or bird feeders.

Overall, composting is a great thing to do for you as a gardener, your garden and the wider environment. The benefits are endless and there is no better day to start than today!

Megan at PrimroseMegan works in the Primrose marketing team. When she is not at her desk you will find her half way up a hill in the Chilterns
or enjoying the latest thriller series on Netflix. Megan also enjoys cooking vegetarian feasts with veggies from her auntie’s vegetable garden.

See all of Megan’s posts.

Gardening, Gardening Year, George, Greenhouses, Grow Your Own, How To, Pest Advice

get greenhouse ready for spring

After a cold and icy winter, spring is finally on the horizon – but is your greenhouse ready? Have you ventured out to look since you tucked up your plants inside last autumn? Whether you have or not, it’s worth making sure you know how to get your greenhouse ready for spring. And don’t worry, because we’ve got all the tips you need!

1 – Spring clean

Now is the time to get your greenhouse clean and tidy. Start by having a clear out – throwing away any junk you no longer use and dead plants from the winter that are beyond recovery. Take everything else outside and give the greenhouse a good clean. Use soapy water to wash all the windows – dirty windows block light which is essential for heating the greenhouse as the days start to get longer. Then scrub down all the surfaces and pots to make sure they’re disinfected and pest-free. This should give your plants and seeds the healthiest environment for the new season.

For more information, see our greenhouse maintenance guide.

2 – Check for damage

While you’re cleaning out the greenhouse, have a look for any signs of damage from over the winter – cracked panels, warped frames and so on. Get them fixed now so you don’t have to worry and can use your greenhouse to its full potential.

greenhouse improvements

3 – Make improvements

Whether your greenhouse is a new addition to the garden or you’ve been using it for years, there are always ways you can maximise its performance. If you haven’t yet, consider adding ventilation to help regulate the temperature during the coming months – either louvres or automatic vent arms to open the windows when it gets too hot. Hanging some shading or using temporary spray on the windows will help cut down on the glare from summer sun. You could also invest in some heating to combat late spring frosts in our ever more changeable climate.

4 – Collect water

As we try to live more sustainably, collecting rainfall to use in your garden and greenhouse is essential. More than that, it’s beneficial for the potted plants growing inside the greenhouse. They prefer rainwater because it doesn’t contain the artificially added minerals that tap water does, as these build up in the soil over time and can become too harsh. Most plants also thrive on slightly acidic water, like that from the sky which has a pH between 5.5 and 6.5, whereas mains water is usually alkaline. Luckily rainwater is easy to harvest through greenhouse guttering and water butts. Also, keep a watering can topped up inside the greenhouse so the water is at an ambient temperature, as in early spring it can be too cold if it comes straight from outside.

5 – Stock up

Make sure you’re ready for a flurry of spring planting by readying your supplies. Growbags will become essential throughout the growing season so stock up now. It will be too warm and exposed to keep them in the greenhouse, however, so store them somewhere cool and dark, like a shed.

6 – Pest control

Once your greenhouse is fresh and clean, it’s vital to ensure it stays pest-free throughout the spring and summer. A simple thing like keeping the door closed is an effective barrier against bugs coming in. You can also lay pellets out across the floor to keep any invading critters like slugs and snails in check.

spring greenhouse

7 – Get sowing

Now your greenhouse is ready, you can actually start to use it! Organise your tables and shelves for planting space, then crack on with early spring sowing. You can plant hardy seeds like peas, broad beans and sweet peas at this time of year in the greenhouse, so they’ll be ready to go outside when it’s a little warmer.

Hopefully this guide has helped you feel more confident about preparing your greenhouse for spring. If you have any other tips, please do let us know!

George at PrimroseGeorge works in the Primrose marketing team. As a lover of all things filmic, he also gets involved with our TV ads and web videos.

George’s idea of the perfect time in the garden is a long afternoon sitting in the shade with a good book. A cool breeze, peace and quiet… But of course, he’s usually disturbed by his energetic wire fox terrier, Poppy!

He writes about his misadventures in repotting plants and new discoveries about cat repellers.

See all of George’s posts.

Current Issues, How To, Lighting, Lotti, Make over

Snoezelen Room

Sensory rooms, also known as “Snoezelen” (a compound of the Dutch words ‘snuffelen’, to snuggle, and ‘doezelen’, to doze) or, more scientifically, a “controlled multisensory environment” is a kind of whole-room therapy for children and adults with developmental disabilities, autism, dementia or other brain injuries. Developed in the 1970s in the Netherlands specifically to treat disabilities and injuries, sensory rooms are now a popular feature of nurseries, schools and residential care homes across the world. Sensory rooms can be beneficial for anyone, from the smallest babies to OAPs, from students to CEOs.

Unlike other forms of therapy, Snoezelen is designed not to have a measurable outcome or goal but to encourage the client to gain as much enjoyment as they can from the activity. Users of sensory rooms often report feeling more relaxed or “sleepy” and suffering less from the effects of depression and anxiety. This kind of therapy can also improve pro-social behaviour and encourage users to relate better to each other. Some research has even shown that sensory room therapy can decrease your heart rate!

It’s clear, then, that Snoezelen therapy is a great way to support both children and adults with developmental disabilities or brain injuries as well as toddlers, babies and those who are suffering from stress, anxiety or depression. However, setting up a sensory room – especially in your own home – can be a difficult and time consuming project, especially when searching for specialist equipment.

But have no fear! We’ve put together a list of affordable resources that are quick and easy to buy to set up your very own sensory room. These items are by no means an exhaustive list but are a great place to start when looking for a way to support someone’s sensory needs.

Bubble Features

One of the most popular features of a sensory room is a bubble tube or wall. In fact, they’ve inspired this whole list! Bubble walls combine colour and the gentle (yet hypnotic) movement of bubbles to create a mesmerising effect which really grabs the attention of both children and adults alike. With integrated LED lights and a remote control, it’s possible to choose from a range of colours as well as strobe and fade effects. In Snoezelen therapy, the client is given control over the remote so they can decide what colour the wall is and which light effects are turned on at any time. Bubble walls are a great way to relax as the user watches the gentle flow of bubbles which shine in the light. You can also adjust the bubble speed, allowing for quick, small bubbles or larger, slower ones.

bubble wall

Bubble tubes are another great water feature for your sensory room. Bubble tubes are particularly engaging as they are wide enough to be able to put plastic fish inside, where you can watch them gently “swim” up and down the length of the tube as they get carried along by the bubbles. This sort of engagement is great for people who can have difficulty concentrating, and the changing colour of the feature keeps it feeling novel.


A sensory room can be easily enhanced with the use of mirrors. Placing a bubble tube in the corner of a room with two full-wall mirrors on either wall reflects the movement of the bubbles and creates the impression that there are more features than there really are. Large acrylic mirrors are usually the most suitable for sensory rooms as they are stronger than glass while being significantly lighter, making them easy to move around and safer for rooms with children. Acrylic mirrors are also available in a variety of colours, making them perfect for sensory exploration as they transform the room and the things they reflect. Small babies and toddlers can particularly benefit from playing with mirrors as they learn to recognise facial features and expressions. A sturdy acrylic mirror placed on the floor is also a great way to play and explore, from looking at yourself from different angles to drawing or painting on the surface and watching the reflection beneath. You can even cover a mirror in something fine like sand, chickpeas or flour and let users trace pictures using their fingers, marvelling as the mirror is revealed beneath.


It’s important to make sure there’s lots of space to relax in a sensory room. There’s no limits in a sensory room so users can sit, recline or even lie on the floor if that’s what they want to do! Placing a few beanbag slabs on the floor of a room provides a soft, malleable surface for users to sit and lie on, as well as being interesting to touch, scrunch and cuddle. Beanbag slabs have wipe-clean polyester covers which can also be removed for more thorough machine washing.


Lots of sensory rooms feature swings and hammocks to provide their users with a relaxing, weightless feeling. Hanging swing seats and cacoon hammocks are a great way to help users chill out as they gently swing back and forth. Cacoon hammocks are particularly effective as they provide a dark, enclosed space which can help people feel more safe and at ease. They also have fewer exposed ropes, making them great for children. Cacoon hammocks need to be attached to a sturdy ceiling beam or hung from a tripod stand. For extra safety, you can put a few cushions, bean bags or soft shapes beneath the hammock or cacoon just in case. For an extra sensory experience, you can fill the cacoon with soft cushions or even a furry rug and decorate it with lights.

cacoon chair


Typically, sensory rooms have very low lighting, often using fibre optic string or cable lights. Low lighting creates a more relaxed environment which can benefit children who struggle to keep calm. String lighting, especially coloured lights, can enhance the relaxed atmosphere as well as bringing more colour to a room. Being able to touch and manipulate light is important during Snoezelen therapy, so make sure that users can hold the lights themselves (with proper supervision). Battery operated lights are great for this, as they can be picked up, manipulated and even worn! Solar powered lights have fewer running costs and can be charged outside (or on a windowsill) when not in use, so are better for the environment. For sensory rooms designed for children, solar lights can also teach them about science and sustainability.

sensory lights

Spinners and Hanging Decorations

Another way to add sparkling colour and movement to a sensory room is through the use of hanging spinners. Hung around a room at different heights, these spinners twist and dance as they spin, creating stunning visual effects which are almost hypnotic to watch. Spinners should be hung low enough that users of the sensory room can touch and spin them themselves, and small children can be helped to reach them so they can watch the direct effect of their actions on the world around them. Lots of spinners come with integrated crystals, which when hung in a window or near a light source can beautifully refract the light in rainbows around the room.

Refracted light

Making a sensory room doesn’t have to be a huge project – in fact, it can often be beneficial to have just a few items which are brought out and set up as a treat. Larger features like bubble walls are a great way to start and can also be just as effective when set up in a bedroom or living room where everyone can enjoy it. So let’s turn down the lights, put away our phones, turn off the TV and instead turn to the bubble wall for an evening of rest and relaxation!

Jenny at PrimroseLotti works with the Primrose Product Loading team, creating product descriptions and newsletter headers.

When not writing, Lotti enjoys watching (and over-analyzing) indie movies with a pint from the local craft brewery or cosplaying at London Comic Con.

Lotti is learning to roller skate, with limited success.

See all of Lotti’s posts.